HOW THE BUGS IN YOUR GUT COULD AFFECT YOUR BLOOD VESSELS
The Larger the Variety of Microbes you have in Your Gut, the Healthier Your Blood Vessels Are, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that people with a more diverse microbiome had lower odds of developing atherosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries — a condition that's associated with heart attacks and strokes.
The study, published May 10 in the European Heart Journal, is the first to point to a direct connection between the gut microbiome and cardiovascular health.
WHAT IS THE MICROBIOME?
The gut microbiome — an enormous collection of bacteria, yeast, viruses and other types of microorganisms living in people's digestive tract — has attracted significant scientific attention in the past several years.
And previous research has found that a lack of diversity in a person's so-called "good" gut microbes could be linked to the development of various ailments, said senior study author Ana Valdes, an associate professor of medicine and health sciences at the University of Nottingham School of Medicine in England.
A number of diseases — and, in particular, inflammation-related conditions — are linked to low microbiome diversity, Valdes told Live Science.
The link with "gut diseases, such as the inflammatory bowel disease, are quite obvious," but low microbiome diversity has also been found to be connected to conditions such as arthritis, psoriasis, eczema and allergies, she said.
Type 2 diabetes, obesity and weight gain also appear to be linked to a poor selection of gut bugs, Valdes said.
"It's known from other research studies that people who have more inflammation — for example, people who have an inflammatory form of arthritis — when you give them specific drugs that reduce inflammation," blood-vessel stiffness also goes down, Valdes said.
Stool and blood samples from 600 women provided the researchers with information about each person's microbiome diversity. These results were then compared with the blood-vessel-stiffness measurements.
Valdes said. "In our data, we found that [blood vessel stiffness] was not due to obesity or diabetes in these people. [Instead], the gut microbiome seems to be having [a direct] effect … on arterial hardening."
Val Edward-Jones, a member of the Society for Applied Microbiology who was not involved with the study, said the findings could possibly pave the way for new treatments of atherosclerosis based on dietary approaches.
The study "highlights some very interesting findings between the gut microbiome" and blood-vessel stiffness, Edward-Jones told Live Science. "If certain microorganisms are associated with arterial hardening as this study suggests,” people could potentially alter their gut bacteria with changes to their diet.
People can improve their gut microbiome diversity by getting more fiber, probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids into their diets, Valdes said.
JOINT SURGERY - Who Should Make the Call? INSIGHT on SBS Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 20:30
About a million orthopaedic surgeries are done each year in Australia. Many of these are joint replacements or spinal surgeries.
And some of these surgeries are on the rise. But the evidence for many commonly performed operations is far from clear cut.
Research suggests that about 50% of Orthopaedic Procedures have No Scientific Evidence to Prove they work better than non-surgical treatments... A Further 25% have been Proven No More Effective than Physiotherapy, Exercise and Weight Loss.
SPINAL FUSION MORE CONTROVERSIAL
Orthopaedic surgeon, Professor Ian Harris, says that some operations, such as spinal fusions, are more controversial.
“The best evidence we have is that it is not better than a structured non-operative alternative, such as physiotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy,” he says. ... See moreSee less
WEARABLE MRI DETECTOR ALLOWS IMAGING OF HUMAN JOINTS
Researchers at NYU Langone Health have developed a wearable detector glove that allows them to image a moving hand in an MRI scanner.
The glove allows for high-quality images of moving joints, whereby tendons and ligaments can be seen moving in relation to bones and muscle, and could be useful in helping to guide surgery.
WHAT'S THE ISSUE NOW?
MRI is a hugely powerful imaging technique. However, it can typically only image motionless objects, meaning that the soft tissue dynamics of moving joints are out of grasp.
Part of the problem is the detector coils in an MRI scanner, which must be fixed in place so that they don’t interfere with each other, but this also means that they can’t image moving objects.
To address this issue, this research group designed a different type of MRI detector, which can be worn like a glove.
The images allowed the researchers to observe how ligaments and tendons, which have been difficult to image, move in conjunction with bones and muscles.
This could provide insights into the differences in tendons and ligaments in cases of injury.
“Our results represent the first demonstration of an MRI technology that is both flexible and sensitive enough to capture the complexity of soft-tissue mechanics in the hand,” said Bei Zhang, a researcher involved in the study.
The capability should aid in the design of prostheses and for diagnosing conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
“We hope that this result ushers in a new era of MRI design, perhaps including flexible sleeve arrays around injured knees, or comfy beanies to study the developing brains of newborns.”